Over the last few weeks, IOL has been in touch with the community and authorities in the eThekwini Municipality regarding the issues surrounding water.
This week, the Municipality revealed how it plans on allocating the R1 billion budget for the 2023/2024 financial year, which was announced last month.
Under pressure to quell tensions since the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) called out the Municipality for violating the rights of residents by not providing access to clean drinking water, authorities now seem to be making moves aimed at solving the problem.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana confirmed the just over R1 billion budget will be spread over six sectors, with the lion's share meant for upgrades.
New infrastructure was allocated R124,950,000, refurbishment of infrastructure - R78,085,000, infrastructure upgrades - R323,984,000, non-revenue water - R228,876,000, storm-damaged infrastructure - R40,800,000, and “other, e.g transport assets etc.” was allocated R207,723,000.
The figure of R228,876,000 allocated for non-revenue water is for water bought from the supplier, but not accounted for.
It is when water is lost in the system, which a number of factors contribute to, according to sources with knowledge of the City’s water network.
This occurs through ageing infrastructure, theft of water or broken and faulty meters.
“This budget will be spent on the Southern Aqueduct project and the replacement of the water pipe system. Over the Medium-Term Revenue Expenditure Framework, R2.1 billion will be spent on the replacement of water pipes and other water loss interventions,” the municipality said about its upcoming budget.
The SAHRC’s water inquiry came after it received more than 600 complaints from people around the province.
eThekwini is one of many regions in the province to have come under the microscope, but it has, arguably, been the most active in solving issues stemming from the report since it was released.
What still remains a problem for the leadership of the City, however, is how to find those responsible for the sabotaging of the water network, which was the cause of the most recent outage in the northern parts of the city.
Air valves were tampered with and vandalised, head of Water and Sanitation Ednick Msweli confirmed.
The water department came under even more scrutiny when an important official was assassinated in Inanda, north of Durban on Friday.
Khumbulani Khumalo was found dead in a state vehicle parked on the side of the road, with two gunshot holes in the driver’s side window, according to Reaction Unit South Africa, who found him.